Why Email Is More Alive Than Ever — Even In This Mobile Culture
by Dawn Metzer
In my previous professional life, I worked as the voice product manager for a regional telecommunications company. Among the products for which I oversaw development and marketing efforts were dial-tone lines and custom calling features. Around 2008, the writing on the wall was becoming clear — landlines were on the way out as more and more people ditched them for mobile phones.
For a time, customers kept their local phone company lines as their primary home phones while using their cellphones when out and about. However, that changed as mobile carriers began extending their networks, offering unlimited calling (including long distance), and providing better 911 access. In the last nine years, the percentage of cellphone-only homes has increased by nearly 36 percent (from less than 15 percent in 2008 to 51 percent in 2017). Landlines, once a staple and then a safety net, are now largely considered obsolete.
But the more some things change, the more others stay the same — like the importance of email in marketing. Some people might argue that social media and other online methods are the most effective ways to reach customers in this mobile age. It would be a mistake to underestimate and underuse email marketing, though; it has a leg up on other tactics in several ways.
Three Reasons to Not Hang Up on Email Marketing
Less likelihood of an incomplete call
Social media posts may or may not be seen by your target audience. Even if platform algorithms don’t suppress your content from appearing in users’ news feeds and timelines, people might ignore it amid cute puppy photos and complaints about the weather. With email, on the other hand, your messages go directly to your subscribers with no third-party deciding whether or not they qualify to be seen. Also, potential customers might tune out ads that they see online. Sometimes people delete email messages without reading them, but they’re more likely to pay attention to content that arrives in their inboxes — especially when it comes from an individual or business with whom they have a relationship — as opposed to other promotional content on the web. Another advantage of email marketing is that customers can save email messages for later; online ads go away and are forgotten if not acted upon in the moment.
A personal touch
Email marketing platforms enable you to segment your audience into separate distribution lists. This allows you to tailor your messages to the specific needs and interests of specific groups of individuals. Ultimately, you can personalize to whatever degree you want — even sending unique messages to every person on your list if you would like.
Also, because email marketing software enables you to address your individual audience members by name, it allows you to start conversations on a note of familiarity. That sets the stage for you to continue to build trust and facilitate comfort with your brand through your content.
ROI that’s a ringer
According to 2016 research by Direct Marketing Association, U.S. marketers reported a median ROI of 122 percent with email — with a distant second-place finish by social media at 28 percent. From the second quarter of 2016 to the second quarter of 2017, marketing professionals surveyed by OneSpot and The Relevancy Group reported that revenues attributed to email marketing increased from 17 percent to 21 percent.
Email marketing generates sales — and profitability!
The Outlook for Email in the Mobile Age
Email marketing has a lot going for it. Unlike local telephone company landlines, the mobile era seems to be strengthening its value rather than rendering it defunct. At the end of 2017, the email marketing conversion rate on mobile equaled the conversion rate on desktop computers for the first time. I don’t think it’s unreasonable to predict that in the near future, the conversion rate on mobile will break ahead in the race.
Where to Turn for Help in Making Your Email Marketing Efforts Successful
As with any other part of your marketing strategy, you must plan and execute email marketing campaigns effectively to get successful results. Marketing professionals and firms (such as Straight North) that have expertise in incorporating email marketing campaigns into overall marketing plans can provide valuable guidance and assistance.
Dawn Mentzer is a contributing writer for Straight North, one of the leading Internet marketing firms in Chicago that provides SEO, PPC and web design services. As a solopreneur and freelance writer, she specializes in marketing content — and collaborates with clients nationally and globally.